"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"
The Church At Colosse (Col 1:3-8)
1. After introducing himself and greeting the brethren in verses 1-2,
Paul expresses thanksgiving to God concerning some things about the
church at Colosse (read 3-8)
2. As we consider what Paul wrote, we learn some encouraging things
about the church at Colosse which are worthy of our emulation as a
congregation of Christians
[For example, notice that as a church...]
I. THEY WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS (1:4)
A. WHAT A WONDERFUL REPUTATION TO HAVE!
1. Some churches are known for:
a. Being "dead on the vine"
b. Being "lukewarm" (cf. the Laodiceans, Rev 3:15 )
2. But here is a church so strong in its faith in Jesus, that word
had made its way to Paul
3. In this, they were like the church at Thessalonica - 1 Th 1:2-3;
1 Th 1:6-10; 2 Th 1:3
B. WHY DID THEY HAVE SUCH A REPUTATION?
1. Because they really trusted in Jesus Christ ("trust" is a key
element in the matter of faith)
2. Because their faith was a "steadfast" one - Col 2:5
a. They were not faithful one day, then unfaithful the next
b. Through "thick and thin", they maintained their faith in
Jesus and did His will!
C. WHAT KIND OF REPUTATION DO WE HAVE?
1. Every church has one, whether it be good, mediocre, or bad
2. Wouldn't it be wonderful if others could say of us, "We have
heard of your faith in Jesus Christ"?
3. If we remain steadfast in our faith, in time they will!
[Notice also that as a church...]
II. THEY WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR LOVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS (v 4)
A. THEIR GOOD REPUTATION INCLUDED LOVE AS WELL AS FAITH!
1. Toward Jesus, they showed faith; toward their brethren, they
2. Not only love for each other, but love for ALL the saints,
including those in other places
3. Again, in this they were like the church at Thessalonica -
1 Th 4:9-10
B. IF WE DESIRE A SIMILAR REPUTATION (AND EVERY TRUE CHURCH OF
CHRIST SHOULD), WHAT CAN WE DO?
1. We can be diligent in our love for one another, making efforts
to become better acquainted and to serve one another
2. We can demonstrate our love for ALL the brethren, by taking
advantage of meetings and singings to be together
3. We can ask the Lord to help us increase in this - 1 Th 3:12
4. We can urge each other to increase in this virtue - 1 Th 4:9-10
[A truly strong faith in Jesus and love for the brethren is such a
rarity in many churches, that any church which excels in these virtues
will soon be known for such!
But as we continue in our examination of our text, we notice also that
at the church at Colosse...]
III. THE GOSPEL WAS BRINGING FORTH FRUIT AMONG THEM (Vs 5-6)
A. THE GOSPEL, WHICH SPEAKS OF THE HOPE LAID UP IN HEAVEN, HAD
PRODUCED FRUIT IN THEIR LIVES
1. Not only in THEIR lives, but throughout the whole world (v 6)
- cf. Col 1:23
2. We have seen the kind of fruit being born by the gospel:
a. Faith in Jesus
b. Love for the brethren
3. In bearing such fruit, they proved that they were truly
disciples of Jesus - Jn 15:8
B. WHAT WAS THE KEY TO BEARING SUCH FRUIT?
1. Notice that they had been bearing fruit "since the day you
heard and knew the grace of God in truth" (v 6)
2. By knowing (understanding, NAS) the grace of God, they were
properly motivated to bear fruit
3. So it is today, those who truly understand the grace of God
will more likely respond in grateful service to God!
C. WHAT IS "THE GRACE OF GOD" WHICH MOTIVATES ONE TO BEAR FRUIT?
1. Simply put, it is the "unmerited favor" which God has shown us
through Jesus Christ
2. We can summarize this grace of God by defining several key
a. CONDEMNATION - Being guilty of sin, we stand condemned in
the sight of God and in danger of everlasting death -
Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23
b. ALIENATION - Being guilty of sin, we also find ourselves
separated from God - Isa 59:1-2
c. PROPITIATION - but in love and mercy, God sent Jesus to be
our sacrifice for sins to appease God's just and righteous
anger - 1 Jn 4:9-10
d. JUSTIFICATION - by responding in obedient faith, we can be
justified (declared not guilty) by virtue of Jesus'
sacrifice in our stead - Ro 3:21-26
e. RECONCILIATION - Free from the guilt of sin, we can now be
reconciled with God through Christ Jesus our Lord - 2 Co 5:17-20
f. SANCTIFICATION - By virtue of Christ's death, we may also be
"set apart" in service to the glory of God - Ro 6:17-18; Rom 6:20-22
3. The more one understands these concepts and their implications,
the more likely they will also bear fruit
1. Through Epaphras, the church at Colosse had heard of this wonderful
grace of God - v 7
2. And through Epaphras, Paul had heard of their wonderful love which
was the fruit of their responding to this grace - v 8
3. Indeed, the church at Colosse had admirable qualities, which we do
well to emulate...
a. Not for any glory for ourselves, but rather that God and His Son
might be glorified
b. For it is only by His grace that we would be able to imitate the
church at Colosse
a. Do we have faith in Jesus?
b. Do we love the brethren?
...Let's be sure to allow the grace of God to have its desired effect
in our lives!
If you have never responded to the grace of God, why not now?
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